His hometown: Long Beach, Calif.
His crew: He came to light as a guest on Odd Future albums (particularly Earl Sweatshirt’s “Doris”) and made a mixtape with Mac Miller on his way to joining the Def Jam roster.
His story: A mere 22, Staples is just a few years removed from a troubled youth that included a gang stint and an incarcerated father. His rap-world entry came via childhood friend Syd tha Kyd of Odd Future. Last fall, he issued a well-received EP, “Hell Can Wait.” Last week, he dropped “Seniorita,” the first track off a debut full-length album due in June 30.
His music: More so than his Odd Future cohorts or even Kendrick Lamar, Staples’ music reflects the harsh realities still faced by L.A. area youths. Not that it’s all just about Southern Cali. One track on “Hell Can Wait,” the “Hands Up,” could be held up as an anthem for the national Black Lives Movement. Even in his bleakest moments, though, the frequently hoodie-attired rap upstart flashes a crooked-smiled wit and needling lyrical flow, qualities that shined on stage when we caught him at Texas’ South by Southwest festival in March.
[Vince Staples peforms Sunday at the Soundset hip-hop festival outside Canterbury Park in Shakopee. The day's schedule won't be announced until that morning. Tickets and more info on the eighth annual event are available via SoundsetFestival.com.]